IKEA Instant Drink mix with Matcha and Lingonberry

Since I have consumed so much matcha for Oolong Owl and behind the scenes, that I’ve experienced a lot of good and bad matcha. Part it has become a joke when I come across really strange matcha or bad matchas. I was at IKEA buying end tables, and I made a last stop to get an IKEA frozen yogurt while my husband bought a jar of herring, frozen meatballs, and Lingonberry soda. While I was waiting, I saw this display and had a big laugh. IKEA Instant Tea in Matcha, Mate, and Rooibos varieties!

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Before I thought it through, I threw the IKEA Instant Drink mix with Matcha and Lingonberry in my husband’s basket. I’ve actually had IKEA tea before. Years back there was a travelling tea box going around and it had a big bag of IKEA loose leaf blueberry black tea. That blueberry black was actually not bad and I quite enjoyed it as an iced tea. Since then, I’ve kept my eyes out for more tea just in case IKEA came up with something fun.

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The matcha mix is 10 x 12g packets. They are sweetened, clocking in at 45 calories.

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The first time I made this I didn’t see the instructions – just what was on the front to mix with spoon. Below the ingredients is the instructions = 1 pouch + 200ml cold water + stir. Stir with a hex key?ikea matchas - oolong owl (1)

The powder is pretty yellow and smells like unknown fruity drink mix. The Tea Owl and I are starting to get scared.

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Tasting of IKEA Instant Drink mix with Matcha and Lingonberry

That colour…. sadly I’ve seen worse with regular matcha. The Tea Owl is hiding and doesn’t want to try it.

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IKEA Instant Drink mix with Matcha and Lingonberry tastes fruity, sweet, with a hint of tart at the back. It actually tastes more like pear than lingonberry to me. The matcha has a hint of grass, but otherwise pretty hidden under the sugary fruity mix. The true taste test – the tea hating husband! He thought it tasted drinkable and more like juice.

Comments

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Maybe I was hoping for something like other flavored matchas that are heavy on matcha. This IKEA Instant Drink mix with Matcha and Lingonberry is moreso drink mix with a splash of matcha to wake you up while you assemble furniture. I can’t comment on the 1 billion cultures that are in it, dunno if that does anything. I would probably save the rest of this to drink on a hot day.

Korean Dong Cheon Sejak Teas from What-Cha

I’m always on the hunt for Korean teas… though they also tend to be expensive. I was able to get in a deal with What-Chat Teas over reddit awhile back to preorder/group buy/meet his minimum order for these Korean teas. There is a few other sellers that carry Dong Cheon as well, but both teas, Korea Dong Cheon Sejak Jaksulcha Green Tea and Korea Dong Cheon Sejak Dancha Black Tea, are available on What-Cha.

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Korea Dong Cheon Sejak Jaksulcha Green Tea

Sejak refers to picking time, thus this is a Spring 2016 tea. What-Cha has a summer picking available, aka Daejak. Jaksul means “Sparrow’s Tongue”, but also more or less inferred as “high quality green tea”, thus after removing the country origin and farmer, this tea is called high quality green tea green tea, making brain hurt.

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This sounds like a really delicate green when temperature instructions are this low temperature. I decided to play conservative, following the steeping instructions somewhat, going heavier on the leaf to 1 gram of leaf to 30ml of vessel size, with 160F/70C. I started with the directed steep of 30 seconds. However, I used my glass gaiwan here – mostly as I could due to low temperature, but also to get some cool photos.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

Mmm, this tea smells great! The scent is milky sweet and grassy. The leaf is cute with short green curls, with the tea being a soft tint of green colour with a fresh scent of picked corn.

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First Infusion: Sips in interestingly buttery and sweet fresh corn. If you ever had the luxury of boiling up a cob of corn that was picked that morning – this sejak green has that taste! The texture is like melted butter, leaving a buttery trail down my face because I coughed like a noob. The aftertaste is lightly grassy. I really don’t drink this low temperature of teas these days, it was cool enough for me to chug it if I wanted to.

Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: The flavor toughed up, showing off the grassy notes as if I chomped on the green off the cob. The flavor is still very fresh corny, but oddly lots some of the fresh flavor, reverting back to that flavor of eating raw corn off the cob. The last infusions here dropped in flavor drastically yet were only a touch dry without any bitter.

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Fifth Infusion: 5 minute infusion with a temperature increase to 175F in attempt to see if I can break this green. It sips in grassy and corny, but the finish is moderately bitter – drinkable if you are used to all that young sheng like I am, otherwise not drinkable. Most likely better to just stop at around the third infusion for best flavor.

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This green tea was pretty good – the steeping instructions worked well!

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Korea Dong Cheon Sejak Dancha Black Tea

This tea is also a spring 2016 tea. Digging around, Dan Cha might mean hong/red tea. My Korean isn’t that good and google isn’t helping me here. I caved and bought 100 grams of this under the assumption of 1. Owl likes black tea. 2. Owl like Korean tea, despite never of tried Korean black tea.

Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

The leaf smells like burnt wood shavings. The leaf here looks a little different than the green tea as there is bigger leaf and sticks.

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I am now regretting my life choices, especially after seeing the package read “176F/80C” FOR A BLACK TEA. WHAT?! I hope this isn’t bitter city. Bah, 175F. I’ll continue with the glass gaiwan and try the low temperature and see what happens. I decided to use a similar low ratio of 1 gram to 20ml. 30 second infusion to start.

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First and Second Infusion: The tea steeps up an interesting orange.

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Sips light to start, but gets very bright in the end of concentrated golden raisin with a sharp barky wood taste. It has a sharp aftertaste of lemon which is unique and something I don’t come across in black teas that often. The texture is like a watery gel, it is sort of thick but falling apart. Oddly, I have watery gel moisturizers, also from Korea. I’m not liking this low temperature black steeping. I get good flavor but the body feels like it is missing something that holds it together.

Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Infusion: WE BOIL! Boil or GTFO.

I braced myself for the bitter tea barf…. but it didn’t come. This Korean black tea is just as pleasant, just stronger in flavor. It tastes more sharp raisin and stronger lemon. The texture is tighter with a thicker feel. Very little dryness. I quite like this, but application seems wrong. This would make a killer iced tea – hot steep into a giant vat and drink at a BBQ. Or a perfect black to pair with afternoon tea snacks to brighten the heavy creamy sweets. This tea has that same vibe of brisk, but in a refreshing lemon form. Saying that this Sejak Dancha is good BBQ party tea crushes my soul as this is expensive black tea, not something I’d drink out of a tacky plastic cup.

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The combined steepings really got acidic in my gut that needed to be fixed with greasy pepperoni pizza. I think this black needs a lot more experimentation to get right before it gets demoted to iced tea service. It be killer iced tea though! Admittedly, I first drafted this review back in January hoping I would of figured out a good ratio/temperature… but I have not despite a couple attempts. This Sejak Dancha is still raisin and lemon brisk flavor with a loose body.

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Either way, both teas are interesting and I am glad I purchased. If you haven’t tried Korean teas, you got to – they are quite different flavor profiles due to cultivars and processing.

February 2017 White2Tea Club feat. Long Jing Green Tea

A tea friend of got his February 2017 White2Tea Club box early and I thought he was trolling when he told me what were the teas that month. GREEN TEA?????? From 2016 with preorders for 2017? This month – Long Jing Green tea and 200X Traditional Storage Qing Bing.

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Long Jing

Soooooo… green tea. I am really out of practice on how to green tea. I just don’t drink the stuff other than torture sessions with various bad or good matchas. I have been finding the more I get into young puer, the less green tea appeals to me. I can resteep young puer more, it has longer shelf life, and less fussy to steep. When I was researching tea ratios, I often saw 1 gram leaf to 20-30ml vessel ratio for green tea.  White2tea mention using the whole packet… ehhhhh I’m lazy so in goes ALL the green! That worked out to 1 gram of leaf per 11ml of vessel. Oh, I did follow 175F water temperature.

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Tasting of February 2017 White2Tea Club Long Jing

First and Second Infusion: The texture is heavy and buttery, almost greasy stick of butter tea without actual grease. The flavor is also buttery with a soft vegetal note of snap peas. Despite leafing overly hard, the flavor is quite nice and soft. The second steeping gets a stronger pea note, as if I’ve been chewing on my peas for longer.2017 Feb White2tea club - oolong owl (5)

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Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: I messed up and did too long of an infusion at steep four, otherwise these are all flash steeps. Steep 4 was not drinkable, but the rest are pretty potent green bean, mushy peas, and buttery. The 6th infusion I am getting some bitterness in the back of the throat, tasting like a build up of a lot of green tea.

This is a lot of leaf…. all you regular green tea drinkers probably think I’m crazy.

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Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Infusion: This is fussy. If I flash steep all I get is my water with a hint of flavor. If I steep it a few seconds too long it is bitter snap pea flavor of doom. It reminds me on some diet I did as a young and foolish college student of eating nothing but bags of raw snap peas. So much vegetal! This tastes too healthy with the strong vegetable bitter taste.2017 Feb White2tea club - oolong owl (8)

Twelfth Infusion: I grew tired of this game of flash steep roulette and did a 3 minute power steep. I’m sure you long time readers know I’m also slightly masochistic. The Long Jing sipped in fine – it was light, buttery and beany… then the strong bitterness came and my throat felt like I should be slamming down some cough syrup. Though there is no way I could possibly drink more, flash steeping this much green tea, plus the rate I drink, was 12 infusions, 2 liters of water, consumed very quickly. I find 175F pretty easy to drink fast, so now I am bloated and hydrated.

GREEN TEA MOUNTAIN

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So how was the Long Jing? Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t drink green tea much these days and what I do is generally cold steeped. The tea was buttery and beany, so I didn’t mind it as much. I could see this being more crisp of flavor when it is the fresher 2017 stuff. The super leaf steeping method? Uhhhh it was more entertaining as it felt like a full on tea binge session. The notes didn’t change too much, but the volume of liquid and pace was high. It is a good way to churn through a high amount of tea – I would do this again for a work setting gongfu.


200X Traditional Storage Qing Bing

Opening the package of this tea made me regret not letting it air a bit first. It smells dank wet basement that I fear to walk in, recalling my childhood dank basement being full of disgusting spiders.

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I steeped up 1 gram of leaf to 15ml of vessel, boiling water with a single rinse. Steeps up a clear walnut color that smells nutty.

Tasting of February 2017 White2Tea Club 200X Traditional Storage Qing Bing

First, Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: This is smooth and syrupy, giving a slick mouth feel and a throat clogging feel. The flavor is very clean woodsy, tree sap, and mineral. This tastes like chewing on some delicious clean wet wood and that squeezed like a sponge into your teapot.

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Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: Flash steeps are needed here, this tea is potent in flavor. The flavor is adjusting slightly, becoming a bit more syrup and sweet. I don’t see the end in sight for this tea, it is still pumping out flavor with very short infusions. The last couple rounds here I started to slowly increase the times.

Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Infusion: WHY WONT YOU DIE?!?! This tea is very good, so I am drinking every drop, but this is taking forever! I finally am steeping around 2-5 minutes here, and the tea is still dark and giving out plenty of flavor. The flavor has shifted with the woodsy gone, and all I got is dank basement and mineral notes. However, with each steeping the dank note slips and the mineral ones take over. The texture lost thickness, but is still slippery feeling.

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I got to steep 17 and had to quit for the day. It is 7pm and like other teas, I figured I’d be done at my caffeine cut off time around 5pm.

Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Infusion: The next morning, I did a flash wash then resumed steeping, doing 5, 15, and 30 minute infusions. The colour is light but the flavor is strongly wet stones mineral. The last infusion had plenty of flavor but was lukewarm. The leaf smelled like it had more in it.

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Twenty-First Infusion: Boil on the stove! DIEEEE NOW!

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If boiling doesn’t kill this tea, the next step would be going to my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I did a 7-10 minute rolling boil on the stove with 250ml of water, losing around 100ml of water during the boiling. I got a lot of colour, but the flavor is very light with a touch of mineral. The leaf smells a bit, but I think further efforts won’t pay off much.

That said, the 200x Qing Bing has a lot of longevity. If I knew this tea was not going to end, going for a 40-60ml gaiwan or leafing down to 1 gram/17ml-20ml would of been smart so I could of finished in a day. You could also of used a bigger gaiwan and had this tea for a week.

Comments

This month’s White2Tea Club was odd. Total contrast between the spring vegetal green and never ending unknown age puer. Not much more that I can say about this.

Hooty Tea Travels – Fridays at Phoenix Tea

I visited Phoenix Tea last year, however since then they have moved to a new location. Phoenix Tea is on the other end of Seattle for me, so I haven’t visited as much as I’d like to. However, I made the trek a couple Fridays ago as each week Crimson Lotus Tea is slinging tea, plus Teadb was making an appearance that day. I ended up hanging out there most of the day drinking tea.

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First, let’s tour the new Phoenix Tea location.

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The new shop is quite sprawling, which is great as there is lots of goodies to look at in Phoenix Tea. This is the place you can go multiple times and see something that you missed from last visit.

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The tea selection here is quite diverse, with teas from various lesser known countries. Malawi tea? They got it.

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I always seem to take photos of the same heicha log. Oh well!

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In the corner is the Crimson Lotus Tea set up. Lots of awesome teas here.

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Hanging out on the Friday was pretty casual. Some of us brought tea to share, but we also sampled some Crimson Lotus Tea items too. I brought cookies and my blue yixing pot full of Red Peony. People trickled in to have tea and new tea friends were made.

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One of Crimson Lotus Tea’s wood fired pots!

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The more tea I drank and the longer I stayed, the more I was seeing weird tea things I missed in Phoenix Tea – in particular the tea pets. They have lots of artist made tea pets, all pretty interesting items and different than the usual tea pets.  Phoenix Tea has tea pets you don’t see anywhere else.

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SLUGGY! This is so Pacific Northwest…

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I saw them and photographed all these Phoenix tea pets, however once tea drunk they become super entertaining and stand out.

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Anyways, I’ll be back to Phoenix Tea again! If you are in the Seattle area, be sure to check them out!

January 2017 White2Tea Club feat Butter Flower, Milan, and Shui Xian Oolong

Finally, the January 2017 White2Tea Club! The mail has been pretty terrible coming out of China lately, likely a large cause being near Lunar New Year. Oddly, my February 2017 club arrived before my January one! People have been bugging me for weeks to review these teas, Butter Flower in particular, but there was nothing I could do as the shipment was delayed!

January 2017 White2Tea club features a sampling of White2Tea’s new oolongs – Butter Flower, Milan Dancong, and Shui Xian. All oolongs are available for purchase now.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

Butter Flower has a distinct floral scent. My brain is racking on what scent this flower is as this is something I used to buy when I used to buy flowers. Out of the three, this one is the most floral and lighter leaf. Milan Dancong has a tangy rocky scent over slim twists of leaf. Shui Xian smells like roasted fruit scent with big chunky leaf.

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I leafed hard here, 1 grams of tea for 12ml of vessel. I used boiling water and gaiwans.

Tasting of January 2017 White2Tea Club Oolongs

Butter Flower rocks a super floral scent! What is this flower, I know this scent but I cannot put a name to it. Milan Dancong smells tangy, rocky, and a bit campy. Shui Xian smells like baby powder with roast to it.

First, Second, and Third Infusion:

Ha, check out the gradient of tea colour!

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Butter Flower – The flavor is strong and sharp floral. This tea packs a punch! The floral taste lingers forever after each sip. There is a little bitterness, likely from floral overload. The texture is slippery, enough to make you face plant while walking on it.

Milan Dancong – Mellow and creamy. This tastes like aggressively toasted camp marshmallows at first due to sweet, mellow, creamy taste. The tea puts me in a low-chill feeling at first, then the aftertaste perks up fruity and fun. Papaya? The aftertaste is long too. The body texture is also thickly greasy.

Shui Xian – yet another tea I’ve had recently that tastes like a stick of butter. I guess what you do here is freeze the butter (somehow) and sear the edges to a crisp, then serve it on a rock. Shui Xian is super buttery, bit roasty, and lots of mineral flavor. The aftertaste breaks out a sharp fruity floral funk. The texture isn’t as heavy or thick as the other two tea, this one actually has a bit of an abrasive feel at the end feeling a touch dry.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion:

We lost our gradient!

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Butter Flower – still super floral, never ending perfume floral. I still don’t know the flower – this might be general flower shop scent. The texture is getting dry here but still very enjoyable. A part of me thinks this tea would be good steeped western style to tame the flowery beast.

Milan Dancong – I am getting a roasty bite here, with less fruit finish. Overall very chill and low

Shui Xian – sharp and rocky. Straight up drinking mineral as the roast and butter slipped. The tea sips in smooth, but then feels like a throat full of rocks after drinking, sticking to my neck.

Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion:

Butter Flower – This one got more bitter while sticking packing a lot of floral. The bitter flavor was like overcooked peppers, so the leaf was getting stewed to death. This entire time I felt I steeped this tea wrong. It needed less leaf or a temperature drop for something more optimal. I stopped this at steep 10, despite it having a few rounds left, but I wasn’t a fan of the unpleasant bitterness.

Milan Dancong – Interestingly, this tea bounced around. It was roasty before, now it is peachy honey sweet. The texture is still thick however at this point it lost a lot of the aftertaste fragrance. I got the most infusions with this oolong.

Shui Xian – This one died at steep 9. I tried 10 and it was very much so dead. It slowly slipped flavor, holding onto a consistent rock flavor. It didn’t get bitter, just a little dry, but otherwise a good daily drinker, no frills tea. You want rock, have a rock.

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Grandpa Style Butter Flower

I had about 3 grams left, so I went in at a lower temperature of 200F in a 280ml mug. I left it in about 2 minutes before starting to drink. This shined much better! The flavor was a softer floral, not overpowering, with a stronger butter flavor, with a good balance of floral and mineral. There is a Great floral buttery aftertaste. Grandpa Butter Flower does get bitter if you take too long to drink. Leading more to thinking this would be good western steeped more controlled.

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Comments

Out of the three oolongs, I feel Milan Dancong stands out the most for interesting flavor transitions and resteep power. Butter Flower would be of interest if you love floral teas – this is as floral as you can get without adding floral flavoring into a tea. Shui Xian is your daily drinker workhorse tea – it seems a tea you’d throw in with your White2Tea order as you need an oolong for your work drinking stash.

Admittedly, none of them screamed to me like how much I enjoyed Duck Shit Oolong or the punch of Hot & Heavy. However, I am happy to of been able to sample these oolongs.

All three oolongs are listed at White2Tea, these weren’t club exclusive teas.

 

Superior Wuyi Aged Golden Buddha Oolong from Treasure Green

This Superior Wuyi Aged Golden Buddha Oolong was a tea drunk upsold purchase at Treasure Green in Vancouver, Canada, during my trip to Vancouver last year. I’ve learned this is why tea shops have you sit down and drink tea with them as the tea drunk makes for easy upselling. I’m at the point where I have accepted this, especially in the hands of a good tea seller – I will always go home with great teas.

I am not sure what went through my mind purchasing this oolong. It was harvested in Jiulong Zhai, Wuyi Mountain in 2004 and has gone though 2 charcoal roasts. It is also sold in a really pretty box.

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Underneath the pretty wrapping paper was a box and tin of tea.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

Not the most exciting of leaves. They smell like old books and wood scraps left over for years.

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It is time to leaf hard! 1 gram of leaf to 10 ml of vessel size – I am using a lot of tea and flash infusions with boiling water.

Tastings of Treasure Green’s Superior Wuyi Aged Golden Buddha Oolong

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First and Second Infusion: Aged Golden Buddha sips in super roasty – I can taste the charcoal yet without any ash or smoke. The texture and smoothness of the oolong is like drinking a BBQ stick of butter. The finish is oddly fruity floral and fresh. I can’t peg the fruity floral flavor yet. There is a slight astringency at the end of sip, but adds to contrast the smooth thick texture.

Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: This tea is so smooth, the texture is like melted butter. The sip is very roast and savory. As the sip goes on, it shifts to fruity like peach crisp. The finish is like fresh peaches, dripping with butter, bit of sweet and savory. The aftertaste is interestingly very fresh and very bright, which is crazy after drinking this tea as a heavy dense roast flavor.

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Seventh, Eight, Ninth, and Tenth Infusion: We have a big flavor change here. This could be a point where many people would just stop re-infusing this tea. It jumped to be quite dry all of a sudden, making it a challenge to push through. However, if you can get through the dryness, you are rewarded with delicious rock notes. The roast has shifted to an umami savory broth with salivating mineral notes. The finish is super dry, drying out my throat and back of my teeth, but in turn the aftertaste is a spiced nutty butter. I feel I could add just a touch of salt to Aged Golden Buddha and drink it for dinner. It has been quite heavy, thick textured, and savory that I feel it should be a meal.

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Actually drinking this tea is making me hungry… and tea drunk. I am getting a really nice internal brain massage. I feel like I’m having a rush, my body is demanding I zipline while eating chili and drinking rock tea.

Eleventh and Twelfth Infusion: Power long steepings here, about 15 minutes.

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The flavor slipped greatly here, but what I got was light mineral and caramel, with a strong dry finish. Even if this tea wasn’t dead now, I would of stopped due to utter tea drunk flailing, evil henchman laughing, and how I scaled the fridge to find the secret stash of cookies.

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Comments

Hot damn, Superior Wuyi Aged Golden Buddha Oolong is good! I really enjoyed the heavy body, strong flavor roast and savory flavors contrasting with the fruity ones. This tea has a lot of body and personality – it is so rich that you can almost chew on it. The charcoal roast is very well done here as there is no ash or smoke.

I think newer tea drinkers won’t like the dry elements in this aged tea, but aged oolong and some puer drinkers will quite enjoy this one. If you love rich flavor, contrasts, heavy body, and feels you’ll love this tea. It is an expensive tea, but this is also priced in Canadian dollars. I believe I paid less in store as well. That said, if you are even in Vancouver, be sure to do some tea shop touring and hit up Treasure Green!

2016 Midas Touch Sheng Puer from Crimson Lotus Tea

I purchased a cake of Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2016 Midas Touch Sheng, since I enjoyed the 2015 one so much. The 2015 Midas Touch sold out so fast that I didn’t get my hands on it! That said, I bought this cake blind, not risking on losing out. I did review the 2015 Midas Touch, however it was a comparison piece with another Jingmai sheng… and I found that tea session most legendary for how tea drunk I got, so not the most accurate of reviews. I had to sit down at one point as the room spun.

Owning the cake is lovely as Midas Touch’s wrapper is beautiful – the gold print adds a nice touch!

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Dry Leaf

The cake is also beautiful with olive tones with silver ripples of leaf. The scent is soft and a little vegetal.

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Steeping Method

I went the standard 1 gram of leaf per 15ml of vessel. Despite being young sheng, I boiled Midas Touch, but I did flash infusions for awhile. I decided to also use my lovely jianshui cup and steep counter, both from Crimson Lotus Tea.

Tasting of Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2016 Midas Touch Sheng Puer

Hot leaf smells like hot summer grassy. The tea steeps up a pale cream yellow with some nice clarity to it.

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First and Second Infusion: Midas Touch sips in soft and gentle. I can’t believe I just boiled this hahha! The tea is crisp yet soft and creamy, with a soft floral of buttercups and daises. The sip going in is very thick, like drinking pepto bismal, if it was a pretty gold. The finish has an interesting brightness to it, like the sun breaking over the horizon. I paused for a few minutes and the aftertaste sneaks in of fresh apricot.

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Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Infusion:

The  tea is opening up more, I am getting an apricot floral with a buzz of honey and buttercups. The flavor is floral, creamed honey sweet – with the flavor being quite light, but the aftertaste grows stronger than the flavor of the actual sip of tea. The aftertaste still creeps in, but a floral incense taste in my mouth. I am getting a buzzy feeling on the tongue, which spreads with each sip making my jaw feel fuzzy. After 6 infusions my mouth feels like it is coming off being frozen at the dentist, but I feel so sappy sunny happy.

So far I find this tea really easy to slam down – the notes of soft, fruity and sweet. It is easy to drink, and the mouth numbing makes me forget the temperature. However, slamming Midas Touch is bad as you miss the fragrance after each sip, and it is really easy to miss as it slips in so slowly.

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This steep bracket was the best of Midas touching – with the most energy of summer florals, ritualistic owl dancing, and numb face. More likely I danced into a tree, face first, which numbed my face.

Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Infusion:

The flavor switches up losing more floral as it goes on and going more towards the buttery side. It isn’t as strong as last years, but the flavor is creamy and a hint of osmanthus floral (which tastes a touch citrus). I started going 5 minute steepings at the end, as the flavor finally lost the floral, leaving a citrus bean taste. The final infusion breaks the creamy texture and jumps to a dry cheeky feel in the mouth.

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Twelfth Infusion: Extended infusion here, about 15 minutes. This is a nope – do not power steep the Midas of Touching, it is bitter in a bad way that I did a sip and pour out.

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This tea got overcooked by my efforts, I would stick to short steeps to slowly milk this tea out until it dies, or opt to cold brew the leftovers.

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Comments

Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2016 Midas Touch is a delicate, bright, and sunny tea with features you will miss if you drink it too fast. The best part of the tea is the early steeps and aftertaste of floral. It was more delicate, floral, complex and soft than the 2015, which the recipe was changed. There is less vegetal flavors this time around, with more concentration of more floral and apricot features of Jingmai than savory.

Midas Touch, at this time, is a good drink now for you type that love a sweet, floral, soft tea. A similar, soft tasting teas I’d compare this to would be White2Tea’s Bosch. You might not get it if you are a crazy chugger and don’t feel texture and complexity. However, Midas Touch is pretty light, probably too light for some sheng drinkers and could be too subtle for someone new to sheng.

I feel since the flavor is so light and delicate, you don’t want to go under the parameters I used of 1 gram/ 15ml and boil. I am glad I didn’t start at 200F as that would of been too light unless I leafed it harder. Midas Touch did survive boiling temperatures well, especially shining for that thick texture in the first 9 infusions. It has a limit of you can beat it up so long before it goes bad – Midas Touch turns things into gold, but in the end goes back to a face punch of bitter steel.

Thinking to Jingmai Love, a cheaper sheng offering also from Crimson Lotus Tea, I’d peg it as a “Farmers Choice” tea vs Midas Touch being competition style vibe – it’s more robust in flavor and greener vegetal in taste, whereas Midas Touch is delicate, complex, and floral. Both are great teas, so if you aren’t able to shell out for a $89 cake, Jingmai Love is your cheaper $45 cake option.

 

Nepal Tea Kickstarter and Tea Review

I first encountered Nepal Tea LLC at the last World Tea Expo. I recall being served some really nice white teas and them being really enthusiastic about their family tea farm being the first certified organic tea garden in Nepal. They also provide housing and education to the locals.

I’ve had these teas since World Tea Expo. I have White Prakash and Shangri-La Oolong.

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With the launch of Nepal Tea’s Kickstarter, I figure this would be good timing to check their teas out!

White Prakash

Dry Leaf: It is surprisingly dense for a white tea – White Prakash weighed out quite heavy for the appearance. The scent is a dry creamy floral, with the tea being quite pretty with some fuzzy silver buds, olive petals and green leaves.

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Gongfu Style: Of course, I disregarded all steeping instructions and treated this how I treat all my other white teas. I used 1 gram to 20ml, with boiling and flash infusions.

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First and Second Infusion: White Prakash steeps up a glowing champagne colour that smells like tulips.

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The texture is like melted butter. The flavor is sharp, crisp, floral like tulips including grassy stem, with a background of butter. The aftertaste is a soft buttery floral that lingers for a few moments.

Third, Fourth, Fifth Infusion: The white has shifted to tangy, floral, and buttery. Most of the flavor is butter, which is really neat for a white tea, thinking this one swings more towards a green tea. The fragrance after is strong dense tulips that is fantastic. However, as the steeps go on, a bitterness peaks out after each sip. There is also a slight parched feeling in my mouth inbetween sips.

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Sixth and Seventh Infusion: So bitter and undrinkable. I’m thinking this isn’t for gongfu and I really should not of boiled it. I like to live dangerously though.

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Western Steeped: I used 3 grams of tea for a 300ml vessel. I dropped the water temperature to 175F.

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White Prakash sips in buttery and more grassy, with a super fresh flavor with a light balmy texture. Overall taste is soft and delicate, much closer to something I would consider tasting more like very fresh tea. The flavor isn’t as floral and crisp as gongfu, but the western style would appeal to someone who loves delicate green and white teas.


Shangri La Oolong

I made the decision to make this tea first as western instead of gongfu, after the experience with the white tea. Sometimes Nepal teas vibe more towards western style, similar to Indian teas, other times more gongfu smooth like Chinese teas.

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Western Steeping: I steeped Shangri-La Oolong using 3 grams of leaf in a 300ml vessel and 190F water temperature.

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Sips in super smooth, like perfect room temperature butter on toast. The flavor is sweet with a touch of malt, with a background of bark woody spice. This oolong has a juiciness to it that is uniquely interesting. The longer it steeps, the more woodsy the flavor gets, but also breaks into a dry briskness. I enjoyed how super smooth this tea was, seemed best for a light breakfast tea.

GongFu Style: Ah well, lets gongfu it. Let’s push this tea! I did 1 gram to 15ml and boiling water. ALL IN!

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First, Second, and Third Infusion: Ooh this is nice, the tea has a vibrant flavor of sweet maple wood, bark with a hint of brisk at the end. Unlike the western, this tea is not smooth. If I was blindfolded, I would think this is a weakly steeped western fancy darjeeling black tea. The aftertaste has a tang of sweetness, with a dryness of baby powder in the mouth.

This oolong vibes closer to a black tea here than the western steeped counterpart. It’s heavy in flavor – something I’d want to chase with a tiny square of layered white cake at afternoon tea… which is a pretty weird feeling for gongfu oolong! Later steepings got smokey before getting too bitter to continue. I did keep the tea around as the colour is fantastically beautiful!

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Comments

Nepal Tea  has some interesting teas, seems moreso for the types that do western style over gongfu – tea people who love a good darjeeling looking for something more unique. I’m a gongfu nut, so I did some interesting shenannigans with these Nepal teas that get food flavor early on, but get too bitter at the end.

White Prakash has super fresh vibe to it, making for a great sip for spring late afternoons. Shangri-La Oolong has some interesting results with play on infusing – a sweet malty tea, but gongfu was tasting like a heavy black – both could be mistaken for a fine darjeeling.

Admittedly, I am not a huge darjeeling and western style steep fan, but my steep theory nerding made these Nepal teas fun to experiment with. If I had a lot more tea to experiment with, be neat to find a middle ground for both teas. You likely need to take the time to steep these Nepal teas with care. My results with these teas also stresses when reading reviews and buying tea, one should know how they are steeped – the results can be drastically different!

Be sure to check out their Kickstarter!

(teas provided for review)

Tillerman Tea Oolongs – Tea Review

Tillerman Tea is an online oolong seller located in the US. They only carry Taiwanese oolongs. I happen to enjoy Taiwanese oolongs so I am excited to see how Tillerman Tea stacks up. I didn’t look much into each tea until after I drank them.

I got three to try – Dong Ding, Oriental Beauty, and Muzha Tieguanyin. All three teas I steeped with the same method –  1 gram of leaf to 15ml of vessel size, in this case, a gaiwan. I did quick infusions with boiling water.

Tillerman Tea’s Dong Ding

Dry Leaf: The Dong Ding oolong is big chunky green rolls with a buttered popcorn scent. This Dong Ding appears to be the unroasted kind and super weighty.

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Steeped up, the dong ding comes out a pale yellow with a strong floral scent.

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First and Second Infusion: This dong ding is GREEEN! It sips in buttery with a vegetal background. The aftertaste is a buttercup floral and sweet. Some sips has a under ripe pear flavor. The body feels like melted butter in my mouth, though there is some dryness after I’m done with these steepings.

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Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: The flavor slowly shifted to a wet pine flavor with a bit of citrus. However, the tea got quite dry enough to make the throat feel like I need throat lozenges.

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I got 6 infusions out of the Dong Ding, I figure the best were the first three. This tea didn’t hold up well to boiling water as the lack of roasting made it quite delicate. I had better results dropping the temperature to 200F to milk a few extra good infusions. I wish this was roasted, but we are in luck as Tillerman also sells the same tea roasted, which I don’t have.


Tillerman Tea’s Oriental Beauty

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Dry Leaf: Another beautiful Oriental Beauty. This tea has a lovely floral scent, with a tea rainbow of ruddy and silver tipped leaves.

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Steeps up an interesting yellow orange – a colour that comes in paint sets and confused why. The scent is a flat floral peachy.

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First, Second, and Third Infusion: The body is silky and smooth. Oriental Beauty tastes soft at first, but blooms into a floral peachy sweetness. After a couple cups, I notice a bit of a baby powder dryness in the back of my mouth. Second and Third steep was the peak of sweetness and floral.

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Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: The colour is getting slightly more ruddy.

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The flavor is still quite sweet, but developing a strong woodsy taste. The body is starting to slip and become thin here, as it gets more and more dry each infusion. End of these infusions the back of my tongue feels dry, which encourages me to keep drinking to calm it. The aftertaste is quite nice though – it’s sweet orange, woodsy, and a little peachy floral.

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Seventh and Eighth Infusion: I powered through these last infusions, the tea got quite delicate and light with a moderately high dryness. The sweetness lasted until the end, with a soft bit of woodsy.

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Tillerman’s Oriental Beauty is the sweet one. Some Oriental Beauties are more woodsy, heavy, or floral. This one leans towards the more delicate soft and sweet side, which reminds me of more competition style oolong. The floral and woodsy are pretty balanced, letting the sweet flavor shine. The citrus notes are of interest, and the body is excellent in the early infusions. Great oriental beauty if you want something more light and sweet!


Tillerman Tea’s Muzha Tieguanyin

Dry Leaf: Muzha Tieguanyin has an interesting roasty plum scent.

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Steeped up, the tea comes out slightly brassy looking with soft roast scent.

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First, Second, and Third Infusion: Now we are talking! This is exceptional! The texture is heavy, like trying to run under water. The flavor starts soft and sweet but builds an excellent mineral flavor with a rounded savory roasty background that leaves your mouth salivating for more. I can taste the charcoal slightly, but it is not ashy or bitter. With the heavy texture, the tea sips really smooth.

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Infusion: The tea continues to be heavy in texture, with a mineral and roast flavor. The flavor starts to open slightly, making me feel like I am licking a wet rock that had a camp fire on it last season and drooling over it for some reason. With each steeping, the TGY got sweeter and more subtle. The Eighth infusion was the most optimal flavor that crossed max sweetness while having bite to it.

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Ninth, Tenth Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Infusion: The ninth steeping was quite good with sweet and savory mineral notes, but it started getting dry on the roof of my mouth and too light. Further steepings I steeped much longer, but getting more dryness. The final infusions tasted free of roast, just straight up sweet mineral with a high dry mouth feeling if you pause between sips.

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I really enjoyed the heavy texture – this is the tea to try if you want to know what I mean about a thick texture in a tea. There was a lot of interest between how savory the roast made the tea, yet over time it fade to more sweet. It oddly gave me a violent craving for Sweet and Sour Pork, a similar like food contrast. Out of the three, this one was my favorite tea.

Comments

Out of the three teas Tillerman Tea sent me, the Muzha Tieguanyin stood out the most. The Oriental Beauty is also quite good and tastes almost competition. The Dong Ding was quite a few notches in quality below the other teas, with a daily drinker vibe to it. By the way, this was the Spring Dong Ding. Tillerman Tea has a winter Dong Ding and a roasted Dong Ding available.

I checked Tillerman Tea‘s site and the Dong Ding is $11 vs Muzha Tieguanyin and Oriental beauty at $30 & $32 (all 2oz sizes).  The latter two teas are priced quite well for quality, so I highly recommend them if you are looking for another good oolong vendor located in the US.

(tea provided for review)

Sunday Tea Hoots 30 – Into the Depths of Amazon’s Tea World

In a night of tea drunkery and boredom, I descended into the depths of Amazon’s tea world. The madness started when I was linked this Collapsible Tea Kettle.

61mUatrwA-L._SL1164_At first I was impressed as this kettle is so space efficient and lime green! Rest assured, it also comes in bio-hazard orange! Then I read the 1 star reviews of the kettle melting violently when people left it unattended. I don’t think I am ever going to leave auto-shut-off boil-dry techno town.

I then went down the search engine hole.. when you hit page 15 you start getting the weird stuff. Stuff that seems useful to only show off your tea nuts you are. These are the tea drunk purchases of Amazon.

Yixing Tea Pot looking USB flash drive?!?! I could be convinced to buy this if it was bigger than 8GB! How dope would it be to whip this flash drive out at a tea tasting to show off your tea pics!

31+alBCgHXLHere are items that will lead to jokes that will get old after a week. “Hey, who left the kettle on??” I can smell the Pinterest DIY on these night lights and lamps. For the less crafty folk, you can get tea pot lights on Amazon.

Oddly there is a lot of Yixing t-shirts and sweaters while searching “yixing” on Amazon. At first I was like, “Wow, I didn’t know there was a Yixing fan club. When am I going to find the gaiwan shirts?”

After awhile it clicked, these shirts are in reference the handsome dancer and singer of EXO – Lay! His real name Zhang Yixing, thus why there is a small army of fan girl Yixing apparel. I won’t spill the beans on you if I see you wearing a “I Heart Yixing” shirt at the Tea Convention, but I cannot guarantee if I start giggling. I would of put two and two together sooner if Lay was my bias of EXO. Sorry Lay, Oolong Owl is on Team Kris Wu.

This is something I should of found on Aliexpress first, but it is here on Amazon. It is the Yixing Cookie Monster belching. It could also be Rick Sanchez burping. Cannot be unseen!

515GAoWPNgL._SL1020_Ditto for “amazed these are now on Amazon” for this impressive Dairy Queen Blizzard tea pot!

Here is a more serious offering – a handmade gaiwan. Maybe it is my monitor settings, but this gaiwan is really pink.

pink gaiwan

Here is a straight up etsy looking, whimsical miniature fairy tea cup. I expect hobbits to open the door and get washed into my tea tray.

No, I will not be doing a comparison tasting of the effects of tea in a Moss Tea Cup.
(amazon affiliate links, proceeds going to keeping the kettle running or year of the cock tea fund)